7 May 2018

Scott, Potts Point


I grew up in the Byron Bay region, along the northern NSW coast. I ended up in Sydney, and after a few weeks of being on the streets and not having anything I needed some money, so I signed up to The Big Issue.

I've been a vendor for almost seven years now. Since signing up at the Sydney office and selling 20 magazines on my first day, I have worked as a Big Issue vendor in a few different states: Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide as well. I don't know what brought me back to Sydney, I just ended up here.

I've been offered so many jobs and been let down. No-one has come back and said, "This is when you're going to start." But I enjoy selling The Big Issue because it's up to me. I choose when I'm out there and I probably work harder as a result.

I live just out of the city now in my own place, which I've been for a few months now. The move wasn't the best, I got stuffed around a bit. But hopefully now that I've settled in I can get into a few more things again.

I got back into tap-dancing after my last Vendor Profile in 2012 [Ed#400]. But it was getting a bit intense because I could be doing eight to 10 hours work then have to walk an hour-and-a-half to the class. I'd do the class, then walk an hour-and-a-half back, and literally get home at 10 o'clock at night. At one stage I was doing stuff with an Irish dance group, which was called Hardshoe. I want to get back into it, but it's harder to find specialised places nearby.

I've been wanting to get back into doing the Cancer Council's 24-hour Relay for Life again as well, but my knees aren't the best. The first year I did it I was still in school and ended up walking 20 hours broken up. The next year I walked the whole thing non-stop. People whinge about City2Surf's "Heartbreak Hill", but Relay for Life is more of a challenge, especially if it rains. There are people who have collapsed and ended up in hospital.

I've been selling the magazine at Potts Point out the front of Woolworths and while some regular customers have dropped off, I've also got some new ones to enjoy a chat with. I'd love to set up a special sales stunt, and advertise it a bit. I'd like to try 24 hours on the pitch, or saying we have 500 mags and 24 hours to sell them all, promote it on Facebook and see what happens.

I'd like to say thank you to a few people; my regular customers, Potts Point Woolworths, as well as the staff and students at St Vincent's school, who are just around the corner. Thank you for all of their generous support over the years. Your sales, chats and occasional muffins really help me get through those long shifts.

Scott sells The Big Issue outside Woolworths, Potts Point, NSW

Photo credit: Peter Holcroft

Interview by Sam Clark
Potts Point, NSW